Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The cosiest Scottish hideaways this winter

 Few places do winter as well as Scotland. Many of its most famous assets – whisky, lamb’s wool blankets and cashmere cardigans – seem tailor-made to cope with the cold, foreboding weather. And if you are looking for dramatic landscapes, snow-capped mountains and icy lochs that look as though they have been lifted from a painting, then Scotland is the place.

Forget the Danish trend for hygge, in Scotland they have coorie – the art of getting all snug and cosy. So if you’re suffering from the back-to-work blues or simply want to surrender to winter’s dark charms, here are some of the best Scottish sanctuaries to hole up in.

1. Coillabus Eco Luxury Lodges, Islay

There’s nothing old hat or predictable about this duo of Coillabus Eco Luxury Lodges. Their design blends in with the wild terrain of Islay’s southerly Oa peninsula so well that you are implored to keep the gates closed to prevent roaming Highland cattle from climbing onto the turf-covered roofs.

Coillabus Eco Luxury Lodge exteriorCoillabus/Facebook

Inside the stone-clad buildings, Scandi-style minimalism meets luxe spa. There’s a sauna in each home, faux fur rugs and a wood burner in the living room where you can cosy up and make the most of the views from the curved floor-to-ceiling windows.

Coillabus Lodge interiorCoillabus/Facebook

Each lodge even comes with an outdoor bath (thankfully with very hot water) where the brave can lie back and watch the night sky – on a clear evening you can see the Milky Way.

Price tag: from £750 for a three-night stay.

2. The Cromlix, Perthshire

For a more traditional Scottish stay, this grand Victorian house in rural Perthshire is all about old-school country house comfort. Aside from the the tennis courts in the grounds, there are few reminders that The Cromlix is owned by tennis superstar Andy Murray – it’s all much too discreet for that.

The Cromlix interiorThe Cromlix/booking.com

Inside, the house is impeccably dressed with Scottish antique furniture and sumptuous fabrics. Of the 10 rooms and five suites, the Eden Suite, built into the turrets, is surely the most Rapunzel-esque. However, you can expect huge windows and elegant furnishings throughout, as well as Egyptian cotton linen and bespoke toiletries.

The Cromlix bedroom
The Cromlix/booking.com

In winter you’re more likely to want afternoon tea by the fireside than play croquet on the lawn but do explore the grounds. A walk through frosty gardens will help build up an appetite for tea and cakes or dinner in the Chez Roux restaurant.

Price tag: from £250 for a double.

3. Eagle Brae, Inverness-shire

Just 20 miles west of Inverness, the Eagle Brae log cabins are easily accessible from most parts of the UK, meaning you can go from city chaos to mountainside meditation for the weekend.

Although there are several cabins available, sleeping two to six people, they all feel suitably secluded, spread over 8,000 acres. They’re all totally sustainable too – the site has its own micro-hydro scheme and biomass wood-pellet burners provide underfloor heating.

Eagle Brae cabins

From the outside, the cabins look incredibly rustic, handmade using giant red cedar logs. But inside, they’re equipped with kitchens and full bathrooms, with plenty of mod cons too.

Eagle Brae interior

Price tag: from £690 for a three-night stay.

4. Iona Pods, Isle of Iona

For a more stripped back experience (read basic), this style of wooden dwelling that looks like a shepherd’s hut with the wheels chopped off, can be found all over Scotland in picturesque locations.

Iona Podsionapods/Facebook

On the teeny isle of Iona, these particular ones from Iona Pods can be found a short walk from the abbey and just a 10-15-minute countryside walk from one of the prettiest beaches you’ll ever find – the White Strand of the Monks. Its pearl-white sands meet turquoise waters and you rarely happen upon another soul.

Inside the huts, you have just enough home comforts – a bed, a kettle and a fridge, plus that all-important heating. You’ll have to use the shared shower and toilet block (which is kept very clean) and leaving the shelter of your duvet may feel like a hard task on wintry days.

Price tag: from £65 per night.

5. The Torridon Hotel, Torridon

If your fantasy of a Scottish escape includes roaring fires, stags’ heads and a wide choice of whisky, set in stunning surroundings, then The Torridon Hotel in the northwest Highlands could be for you.

Bedrooms in this Baronial mansion have been given a contemporary lift in recent years and there’s been no scrimping on cost, but thankfully things are a little more traditional downstairs.

The Torridon Hotel bedroomThe Torridon/booking.com

There are boots and brollies to borrow for a trek around the expansive grounds or to the nearby deer farm. Alternatively, stay in and kick back in the elegant drawing room as you gaze upon the mighty Torridon Hills beyond Loch Torridon, or play a game of chess in the whisky and gin bar.

You’ll almost be wishing for cold, wind and rain so you have a good excuse to stay put rather than head out for the day – though you’ll have to wait until February, the hotel closes for the month of January.

Price tag from £165 per double.

READ MORE: 9 places you must see in the Scottish Highlands and Islands

6. Clachaig Inn, Glencoe

Rooms are fairly basic but good at Clachaig Inn, located in the heart of Scotland’s most epic valley, Glencoe. Offering shelter and sustenance to travelers for over three centuries, it does what it does very well.

Clachaig InnClachaiginn/Facebook

Expect decent, hearty Scottish fare, local ale and a fine selection of whiskies, served all day by friendly staff. If you’ve made it to Glencoe, the chances are your days will be spent walking some of the region’s many hills and munros, or descending to the valley floor. Evenings should be spent chatting to new friends in one of the back bars or listening to a traditional music session on Sundays, before bedding down for a good night’s slumber.

Price tag: from £110 per double.

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